We have had such a lovely weekend! You’re all probably aware by now of how much I love autumn BUT I also love all things American. My dad was born and raised in Chicago and I have relatives still living there and in NYC. Americans know how to do their seasons right, from amazing house decorations to delicious food (albeit unhealthy at times!) to family activities! I love the idea of a pumpkin patch and for the last number of years I’ve been trying to find one to go to at Halloween. Well, this year I planned in advance and booked tickets to Kennedys pumpkin Patch in Meath, so on Saturday morning we loaded the babies into the car and set off on our adventure! The kids slept the whole way there, which we all know is the holy grail for parents. The last thing you need is two screaming babies for a 45 min car journey. I’ll be honest I almost shed a tear of excitement when we arrived, I’m emotional like that. We were ushered in and told to park in a field at the back of a house ( how much more Irish can you get!). The patch itself was in the next field over and it did not disappoint! The field had been covered with straw, hay bales and hundreds of pumpkins! What sealed the deal for me was the little carts that you could load up with pumpkins and pull around, although I of course popped the babies in and used this as the mother of all photo ops! What can I say, I’m that mom! They had this old decommissioned tractor in the middle of the field which was very difficult to pry L off of, but so much fun for him nonetheless. In the bottom left hand corner they had a little corn patch with corn on the cob growing, again loved how American this all was! We ate hot apple fritters and drank hot apple cider and just about collapsed in the cliché of it all! I have to say I left feeling so happy and content.
One of the snacks that I brought on the car journey to the pumpkin patch was some homemade energy balls. I’ll be totally honest this recipe came about because I needed to used up some ingredients in the pantry, but they actually turned out to be quite tasty, if I do say so myself! You will need homemade nutella for this recipe, which can be found on my previous blog post!
2 tbsp homemade Nutella
2 tbsp cashew nut butter
75 g of cranberries
Handful of flaked almonds
Handful of hazelnuts
desiccated coconut to cover balls
Basically lob it all in a blender and blend on full power until smooth, shape into balls and roll in coconut. L kept running around saying yummy while eating these so they obviously passed the toddler test!
Since having children I really try to make a conscious effort to limit what we throw away and I’m all about reusing and up-cycling! I’ve been all about reducing our food waste at the moment and since I had a basket full of sweet potato, I wanted a recipe that I could use it all up. I decided to make a sweet potato soup and boy did this hit the spot. It didn’t hurt that it was lashing rain and we were all craving something warm. Again this is so quick and easy! You will need:
1 red onion, peeled and diced
1 ltr of stock
2 tbsp of cream cheese
knob of butter
Melt the butter and soften the onion in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add potato and carrots and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the stock and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15-20 mins until carrots and sweet potatoes are soft. Blend using a hand mixer until smooth. Add cream cheese and blend again. That’s it! Quick, easy, healthy! We had some homemade bread sticks with this soup. These weren’t your typical shop bought crunchy bread sticks, they are soft and chewy and seriously delicious. They are great for snacks too. L and Baby I loved these. To make the bread sticks you will need;
1 cup warm water
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1⁄4 cup olive oil
1 packet of fast acting yeast (2 1/2 tsp)
Pinch of salt
Knob of melted butter for brushing.
Pop all ingredients into a free-standing mixer and mix on low (2 on the KitchenAid, with the dough hook!) for about 12 mins until dough is smooth and pliable. Alternatively you can hand knead this until desired texture is reached ( a good workout!). Preheat oven to 190°C. Once dough is kneaded roll out to 10 x 12 inch. Cut into 14/16 strips and twist each strip. Lay on lined baking tray and allow to rise for 20 mins (if you leave out sugar from above recipe you will need to allow them to rise for longer, roughly 60 mins) then bake for 10-15 mins. Once cooked (slightly golden on top) remove from oven and brush with some melted butter. You can also sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan/basil on top too!
Im off to do some more food art with the kiddies but I’ll pop up another blog post with all of those soon. Hope you enjoy the recipes and have a happy Halloween!
Bye for now!